ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The raw, shaggy-haired Denver Broncos quarterback with Madison Avenue good looks and an impressive college resume that includes 72 touchdown passes realizes he has absolutely no shot now of unseating Kyle Orton or even Brady Quinn.
No, not Tim Tebow.
The undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Minnesota also figures he hasn’t a chance of surpassing Tebow anytime soon. After all, he’s still waiting to throw his first pass as a pro.
That may or may not come Thursday night at Arizona in the preseason finale.
The Broncos love what they’ve seen from Weber in his scant opportunities in practice so far. But the best way to ensure they can slip him through waivers and onto their practice squad is not to expose him against the Cardinals.
In that case, Quinn, who seems to have secured the backup job, and Tebow will share snaps while Orton and the rest of the starters watch from the sideline.
Weber said he hopes to get in for a couple of series, but if not, he won’t fret.
“I only try to focus on what I can do,” he said, “and if I don’t get out there, I don’t get playing time, I try not to worry about that.”
Weber said he’d love to play on Denver’s practice squad this season.
“My ultimate goal is to be a starting quarterback, but you’ve got to take small steps to get there, and if that’s practice squad, then so be it,” he said. “I don’t mind putting in my time.”
Which is why he chose Denver after his name wasn’t called in the draft.
Weber’s chances of making the 53-man roster took a dive when the Broncos and the Miami Dolphins couldn’t reach an agreement to send Orton to the Dolphins in July.
That turn of events seems to have proven fortuitous to the Broncos, who are coming off their worst season in franchise history, one that led to the return of Hall of Famer John Elway as chief of football operations and the hiring of veteran head coach John Fox.
Weber said he figured the Broncos were his best fit.
“A great coaching staff. Starting something new. It seemed like a good situation,” Weber said. “It is a good situation. Unfortunately, most teams don’t keep four quarterbacks.”
Still, Weber has no regrets.
“I know a lot of places where an undrafted guy doesn’t really get reps, so I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to get out there and show these guys that I can play a little bit,” he said. “And hopefully, I’ll get out there on Thursday and do it in a game situation and put some good stuff on tape and hopefully earn a spot or earn something on this team.”
Weber has certainly shown enough promise to be a keeper, and Tebow is the only QB under contract after this season. So, his future with the Broncos could be bright.
While all the focus this summer was on how well Orton was doing, how much Quinn had improved and how much Tebow still has to learn, Weber quietly impressed his teammates and coaches with fantastic footwork, a strong, accurate arm and a knack for throwing TD passes that dazzled even veteran defensive backs.
There was even a report last week that quoted an anonymous source saying Weber had actually outperformed Tebow at training camp.
Could No. 15 really be No. 4?
Weber got a big laugh out of that, blowing it off as the latest sideshow in this QB circus that has descended upon Dove Valley this summer.
“It seemed fitting with how everything was going,” Weber said. “People are just kind of hungry for something. But that’s the beautiful thing about football: it has a way of working itself out. The guys who can play will play; the guys who won’t will be weeded out.”
Weber has had a unique, fly-on-the-wall perspective of the great “Quarterback Controversy” in the Rocky Mountains this summer.
“I think there’s a lot of hype, but the three guys ahead of me are great quarterbacks and I’m still learning a lot from them,” Weber said. “And I just feel very lucky that I can call them teammates.”
Fox joked that the anonymous source might even have been the team chef, for all he knew.
Weber said he likes the man’s cooking but doesn’t know him all that well.
“Not well enough for him to go talking to you guys,” Weber cracked.
Notes: S Brian Dawkins left practice Tuesday with what Fox called “a little neck pinch,” and DE Elvis Dumervil was limited by a strained groin. … Fox said he’ll meet with every player who gets cut after the final preseason game, but not all of the 53 who stay should feel safe. The Broncos own the second waiver wire claim over the next month and are sure to scour the list of cuts for defensive tackles and backup offensive linemen, maybe even a running back. Said Fox: “We’ll do whatever we can to upgrade our team. It does help to be higher up on the claim order.” … Perrish Cox, who is facing a sexual assault case, has climbed back up the depth chart after returning to his natural position. He had slipped to third-string while struggling in his move inside to cover slot receivers early in camp. He’s now backing up RCB Andre’ Goodman.
By AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)